‘Re-inventing’ group assured federal money

The “Re-inventing Fort Frances” committee received more than just a cheque for $39,000 from local MP Robert Nault last Wednesday—it also got assurances the federal government would be there when the project hits the construction phase.
Nault was at the Red Dog Inn to present the cheque as the federal government’s contribution to the $105,712 feasibility study proposed by the “Re-inventing Fort Frances” committee.
At that time, the committee also asked about Ottawa’s commitment to this project as it enters Phase II.
“It goes without saying if you’re going to make a commitment like this, then you would want to indicate that obviously on one hand there are no strings attached but on the other hand as their local MP, [I’m going] to work very closely to make this a reality,” Nault said.
“I’m going to do everything in my power to do that.
“This is a fairly large and expensive study that’s being requested. We’re in the $110,000-$120,000 range,” Nault continued.
“We expect it will help in making the kinds of decisions we have to make,” he said. “I’ll work very closely with Mayor [Glenn] Witherspoon and the province and other stakeholders, be it the province, and see what we can do to improve our region overall.”
Committee chair Janis Lesko was thrilled at both the funding announcement and the commitment for future support.
“We’re excited and pleased that we got the funding in place, and we’re looking forward to the next phase and getting into Phase II,” Lesko enthused.
“If we can work with the consultant and get solid plans and visions worked out, then I don’t think we’ll have any problems with support,” she remarked.
Mayor Witherspoon said the region should be looking more to the federal government for project funding.
“I don’t think we have used the federal government enough, especially since we have a key person, one of the major ministers, sitting at the table.
“We have to rely on his input,” the mayor stressed.
At the meeting, Mayor Witherspoon took the opportunity to highlight a number of issues facing the district, including the need to extend the airport runway here to allow larger aircraft to land, promoting apprenticeships and other training for young people, and the state of roads and infrastructure.
“I think it’s time for especially the federal government and the provincial government to get together for transportation of roads, and hopefully we can have infrastructure of our roads to be proud of and not worried about them washing out and having people marooned for a week-and-a-half,” Mayor Witherspoon said.
“That can’t happen anymore.”
The town, which had previously agreed to go ahead with consulting firm Hilderman, Thomas, Frank and Cram, passed a bylaw approving the contract award at Monday’s council meeting.